So we left the hills to return to the city through acrid, choking fumes and dirt. I guess this was what London was like before the Clean Air Act. Nasty. Everyone walks around with a scarf over their mouth. Stuck in traffic as we were through another demonstration, my throat burned and eyes streamed.
I talked to a couple of young IT guys today who are desperate for some investment in the industry in Nepal. After 10 years of insurgency and with the current Maoist government not exactly promoting private investment, the future seems bleak for those young men not already conscripted into the armed forces. 70% of those who have computing degrees (which is as desirable now in Nepal as it was in Britain in the early 90s) move abroad.
“I love Nepal. It is where my heart and family is,” one of them told me. “I want to live in Kathmandu – that’s why I want the IT park to succeed.”
Personally, I can’t imagine Kathmandu as the new Bangalore, but then I guess it would have been difficult to predict Bangalore’s success in the 1980s.
Tomorrow we leave Kathmandu again, for the lake town of Pokhara – and then some trekking into the mountain villages. Nick’s trying on his knee-support bandage now…